Posts Tagged ‘Jose Reyes’

Spring Training is boring.  There, I said it.  I mean look, half the team is playing in the World Baseball Classic, there are no more transactions to be made, and the Spring Training games are, you know, Spring Training games: the starters come in, do their thing for an inning or two, and then leave to make way for the prospects.  So as long as we see that everyone on the team is getting some playing time, and everyone’s healthy, and the prospects are developing nicely, there’s really not much else going on this time of year.  Except getting stoked for the season of course, but that’s still a few weeks away.  After a long winter, the wait is agonizing.

Some injuries, as usual.  Brad Penny had to halt his last bullpen session but Masterson’s got it covered.  Drew flew back to Boston to get an injection around his spine to relieve some back discomfort.  That’s a little more concerning, but nothing we can’t handle.  When we signed him we knew he was going to spend his fair share of time on the DL, so we’re equipped to take that into account and handle it.  And after his stint he’ll be fine.  We know that because in the days leading up to the injection he lit up batting practice.  So is it possible that there’s something wrong with him? Absolutely.  Will it really affect us that badly? Absolutely not.  Mikey Lowell’s recovery is progressing very nicely; he’s scheduled to DH on Tuesday against the Orioles.  It’ll be his first game since Game 3 of the ALDS.  Speaking of Mikey Lowell, some notes on the future: I see Youk moving to third to make room for Lars Anderson at first.  (Lars Anderson, by the way, is slated to be the first home-grown power hitter we’ve had in a while.)

The A’s will be finalizing a one-year deal with Nomar soon, which will come right after the team signed Orlando Cabrera.  I’m telling you, Nomar and O-Cabs can’t seem to get away from each other when it comes to trades.  And guess who finally found employment? Manny Ramirez.  The Dodgers signed him to a two-year, $45 million contract with a no-trade clause and the right of Ramirez to void the contract after the first year if he thinks he can make more with another team.  Finally.  After four months of Scott Boras not understanding that he has absolutely no leverage in trying to unload this man, the man finally finds a deal with the Dodgers after apparently “suffering” in Boston.  You know what? Manny Ramirez and Los Angeles deserve each other.  And that, my friends, is the end of it.

More on the A-Rod front.  Why am I not surprised.  He wishes Jose Reyes were leading off for the Yankees.  Apparently he forgot that the Yankees already have a shortstop and that this shortstop is supposedly his best friend.  Classic A-Rod.  Oh yeah, and he’s having hip surgery tomorrow and should miss six to nine weeks of the season with more serious surgery to follow after the season is over.  In the interest of being a good sport, I’ll say it’s always unfortunate when a ballplayer gets injured.  Other than that, no comment.

Finally, some words of praise from the A’s and also said Skankees.  We’ve all read Moneyball by Michael Lewis, and if you haven’t I strongly and highly recommend it; it’s really an outstanding book.  Anyway, here’s what A’s GM Billy Beane has to say about our front office:

One of the reasons the Red Sox have gained on the Yankees is because the foundation of their organization is run like a very successful small market, yet they have the ability to retain their premium players in their prime.  When a club does that, it knocks the wind out of not just their rivals, but also small-market competitors.

See? It’s not just Red Sox Nation; everyone else around baseball is also aware of the fact that Theo Epstein is a genius.  Even Brian Cashman:

The Red Sox are incredibly bright.  They have the best of both worlds…When you look at Boston, there’s no reason to think they won’t continue to win.  The fact of the matter is you arguably have the brightest front office with lots of resources and an ownership group that supports it.

Welcome to my world.

In other news, the Bruins traded Petteri Nokelainen to the Ducks for Steve Montador.  Two losses and a win since last weekend, one of those losses unfortunately coming at the hands of the Flyers.  Great.  Just great.  The playoffs are right around the corner, and now is not the time to fall apart.  On the upside we’re on top of the League again, one point ahead of the Sharks, who are now tied for first in the Western Conference with the Red Wings.  I’m not worried.  We’ll get it done in the end.

AP Photo

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Talk about timely wins and losses. The Rays lost in extra innings by the long ball yesterday, and we won in dramatic fashion. Dice-K versus Scott Baker. No score. Eighth inning. Pedroia the Destroyah doubles and Manny singles him home in the clutch. The final score? 1-0, we win. Dice-K pitched six-hit shutout ball for just over seven innings with three walks (good to see a low number in that column) and five K’s, lowering his ERA to 2.84. Hideki Okajima relieved him and pitched a rare perfect inning, and Pap redeemed himself splendidly and got the save. Just like old times: Okie in the eighth, Pap in the ninth, one-two-three, we’re done. If only Okie could keep that up for the rest of the season.

Yesterday’s contest was a great game. That’s what I call a pitcher’s duel. When Okajima relieved Dice-K, there were two men on base and he pulled through it. He had the head snap going, he had the Okie-Doke, it was beautiful. Nothing like a close win at home to remind you that, hey, you’re defending champions of the world! We’ve got this series with the Twins and then three with Baltimore before the All-Star break. Should be a great opportunity to establish and maintain some momentum, and last night was just what the doctor ordered just when we needed it.

Nick Blackburn (3.78 ERA) at Lester tonight, and Scott Kazmir (2.63 ERA) at Pettitte (4.22 ERA). By the way, you may have noticed that Jason Giambi is on the All-Star final vote. Jason Giambi is not All-Star material. His juice cost us a World Series appearance. Remember the two home runs in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS? Not cool. Speaking of All-Stars, an article in the Lowell Sun claims that Jason Varitek is not All-Star material and that he only made the cut because the players voted him in in what amounts to a popularity contest. The article continued to say that Tek’s expert handling of the pitching staff is not grounds for All-Stardom. Now, I don’t care what your favorite team is or who your favorite player is. Everyone respects Varitek for his knowledge of and love for the game, his leadership on and off the field, and, yes, his expert handling of the pitching staff. Batting averages and catcher’s ERAs don’t tell the whole story. Take Jose Reyes, for example. He’s currently batting .299 with a .486 slugging percentage and 32 steals. Good numbers…for someone who’s widely regarded as arrogant and conceited (the fact that his at-bat song is “This is Why I’m Hot” by Mims is now in context…just sayin’). The players didn’t vote Tek in because he’s a nice guy. They voted him in because he’s worthy of that honor. Why do you think Red Sox Nation puts up with his pathetic offensive production? Because he’s worth it in other ways. You have to love the guy.

In other news, the Red Sox would like to convert Justin Masterson from starter to reliever to provide a reliable set-up man for the bullpen. It’s true that Javy Lopez and Aardsma can’t do it all, but it seems like such a shame to restrict him to throwing a couple of innings every couple of days. He has so much potential. He has the maturity, stamina, endurance, and stuff to become an ace. He’s currently 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA in nine starts. His slider and his sinking fastball are fatal for right-handers, who bat .170 against him. Those are pretty impressive stats for a young kid who hasn’t finished his Minor League stint yet. Making him a reliever seems a little drastic. Clay Buchholz is getting ready to come back, and they need to find something for Masterson because he’s too good to be sidelined for long. But here’s a thought. A really good reliever should be able to throw quality pitches in, what, maybe four innings tops per outing. Why not let Masterson work in Triple A as a starter and bring him up every so often to start and give Clay the extra rest? That way, if we need him in relief down the stretch, he’ll do what Josh Beckett did with the Marlins in ’03: pitch relief with all the power of a starter. That would be uncannily effective, no? If it worked in the World Series against the Yankees, it’s at least worth considering in the regular season.

Dustin Pedroia, 7/7/2008

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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